The Brand Bridge
You've built your business. One way or another you've gone through the incubation phase, garnered enough investment and have hit the market with your service or product and the sales are starting to come in.
The obvious answer is that of course, you want to scale your business, you might(you probably do) need to hire now or at least setup systems and protocols to manage your business more efficiently. However, as you scale you now have to either organically or more intentionally need to create or at least be aware of the culture that is being constructed within your business.
How will your new partners, employees, and systems reflect your business and what it stands for? On that note what does your business stand for?
What does your business have to say to those parties? To the outside world?
Usually, when it's all said and done the values and beliefs of the founders or current leadership of a company becomes the foundation for the culture of that company. Or at least it is supposed to. This is where the first part of the brand bridge can make a difference in the internal environment or culture of a business. You can create and discover your why, craft brand positioning and messaging and let this act as a vehicle for implementing your culture within your company.
Establishing culture is important, assuming that you have been through this process now it is time to focus on telling everyone about your newly discovered culture and vision. Now the stuff you know about branding comes into play, the external communication part. This is the PR, the marketing, the messaging and the visual identity(the logo).
But you can't do this without the internal culture discovery, the brand has to start from within. Many businesses try to build an internal culture and external communication in silos, isolated from each other. This can at best lead to slight internal turmoil, and at worst can lead to damaging PR disasters.
For example what if internally your business is focusing on increasing the acquisition of factory space but your marketing is focusing on conserving the planet? Or internally your culture believes in supporting the #metoo movement but your HR department isn't focusing on hiring women in leadership positions. In any event, a business and brand will suffer in some way or another if the culture and communication are not in alignment or they aren't connected.
Your brand should be that bridge that connects culture and communication, it should be the idealized representation of both. Your brand should tell a story through great communication, to your customers about the culture, the roots, and the reasons and values behind the success of the company.
Most of your favorite companies are doing this. Coca-Cola is great at this, so is Apple. The culture and communication at these big companies are in sync and perfectly connected. BP or Wells Fargo? Well not so much. Both have had major PR disasters because they were saying one thing and doing another. Other oil companies have had oil spills and other banks have had corruption problems, but BP was saying they care about the earth and Wells Fargo was saying they care about their customers. But their actions said something different. Coca-Cola has always focused on joy and happiness, they say it and they mean it. They make products that harm the health of their consumers and they are addressing that with their new advertising and branding direction; but it's easier to do this because their branding has been authentic and in sync with their culture and communication.
Build your business, then your culture, then your communication. And let your brand be the bridge to all three.